Earlier tonight, while out to dinner with a friend, we got to talking about the roles of people in our lives, both good for us and bad for us, and how those people balance us out. The conversation wasn’t really brought on by anything in our lives at present, it was more a pondering of things and mutual insights being shared, so my thoughts on it didn’t really go any further than that. As I drove home though, my friend text me to add something to the conversation that got me thinking about the Three Wise Monkeys of the old Japanese proverb, “See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil.” She wrote, “maybe what I was saying about people and balance may or may not be true but I think it’s also important what you learn from the person.” While that statement doesn’t really pertain to the proverb, it does refer to people and what actions we choose to make in life.
We, as people, are able to balance each other out based on our similarities and our differences, however, sometimes having too many similarities and/or differences in comparison to your own tastes can be a negative thing. So essentially, what I’m saying is: If you can learn from someone, no matter if they are good for you or not, that can be a balance that is beneficial to you, even if they don’t remain in your life for the long haul, so to speak. What had me thinking about those monkeys was the fact that in all sorts of relationships, we come into contact with both good and bad people. Sometimes the ones that we may think are bad are, quite possibly, not bad at all, but rather they are just not right for us. Perhaps those negative influences in our lives could have a positive one for someone else. The point is, we just never know these things because we are the sort of species that are quick to judge those around us, no matter what possibilities for learning are available. To be human is to make errors in judgment, to be eternally flawed, which coincides with the “see, hear, speak no evil” type of sentiment. I believe that this proverb is meant to be a beacon of hope for us, as such a flawed species, to possibly one day be kinder to ourselves and to one another. The message isn’t trying to make anyone perfect or any relationship with another perfect, but instead it is promoting a broader sense of what we choose to do in our lives, both good and bad. If you turn away from the evil it won’t necessarily stop it from touching you, however, it may just bring more happiness to your life for taking the higher ground. Then again, it may not, but wouldn’t it be best to take the positive option either way?